So, I went to the station to take a bus to the Universität. Local transportation is provided by a series of bus lines, except for line 1, a tram system. It's just like playing Traffic Giant, although I suppose it's not entirely unlike OpenTTD. Our badges also serve as transportation passes. The mechanism for this is unclear; they're not mechanically readable in any way, all they have is the logo of the local transit authority small in the corner. Except that, since we can't pick up our badges before getting the university, they thoughtfully sent us a PDF with a sample badge with the name "Holger Hermanns" labeled "SAMPLE BADGE" (except in German), which we could print out and use instead. The bus driver did not appear to be phased by this gaping security hole, and let the waiting conference attendees on the bus.
Then a lot of stuff happened. Unfortunately, most of it was people talking to each other about computer science. I'm sending daily wall-of-text reports to my advisor in an attempt to not forget everything that happens here, but I'm not so sure that he's that deeply interested. I just hope that, if he sets up a filter to automatically junk my emails, he turns it off after I get back. If you're reading this because you like having large quantities of text, I can CC you.
But Europe has my back; they know how to keep things interesting, and they do it by putting the beginning of Daylight Saving Time on the second day of the conference, right when the jet lag brigade was just starting to get a hang of what local time was. But that trick only works on boring, predictable people! I jet lag in reverse. I had gone to bed around 7pm and woken up around midnight the previous night (omitted from the story of my arrival, because (a) sleeping is boring, and (b) failing to sleeping is boring). So springing forward didn't phase me at all; it just provided a nice soft landing, which is why I was back on schedule the next day. (Does that make sense? I can't tell.)
The next day consisted of more sitting and hearing people talk about computer science, briefly interrupted by other people sitting while I talked to them about computer science. You would have been thrilled by my presentation, assuming that you have strong opinions about programming language syntax.
The next day, instead of sitting in a workshop and listening to people talk, I sat in a conference and listened to people talk. But it was in the same room, mostly:
|From Springtime for Boston (and Germany)|
Some of the talks have been good, and some of them have made me worried for the future of human knowledge. If they gave an award for the most-mumbled paper, there would be quite a lot of competition for the top spot among type theorists.
The Saarland Economic Promotion Corporation has hopefully provided food and drink and invites us to "invest in Saarland" (that is, they did so with, I assume, a hopeful attitude). If computer scientists had any influence on industry, I'm pretty sure that stamping out C++ would take higher priority than investing or divesting Saarland.
Doublemint from the United States is way stronger than it is here, and comes in better packaging. Just a warning.